When looking at touring bicycles, it can be overwhelming. We’ve put together this handy article on the different types of touring bicycles. Basically, touring bicycles come in three varieties – the road, the recumbent, and the tandem. In this article we help you decided which one is right for you. Remember that while there is peace of mind when buying a touring bicycle brand new, there are used options out there that will help cut costs.
Different Types of Touring Bicycles – Touring by Bicycle
There are bicycles on the market for every possible type of cycling. Depending on your needs, you can find an excellent bicycle in your price range for any type of activity.
The touring bicycle is designed for cyclists who want to ride from Point A to Point B on bicycle, and bring camping gear, changes of clothes and food along with them. These bicycles have racks, otherwise known as panniers, mounted on the front and rear of the frame for carrying this extra gear. The bikes are designed with a large wheelbase, mounting points for mudguards, and triple water bottle mounts so there’s no danger of the rider going thirsty!
Touring bicycles come in three styles: the road, recumbent and tandem bikes. As with any bike, each of these styles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Know your needs and investigate each style, offered by several different companies, to get the best one for your needs.
Different Types of Touring Bicycles – Road Bike
When choosing a road touring bike, you want one that is as sturdy as possible, but also as light as possible. A longer wheelbase is necessary, because it will give you a stable and comfortable ride, and of course that essential room for panniers. You must use the type of tires which are suitable for unpaved roads, but will not be as slow on pavement as fat tires, and mounting points for fender and the racks. Don’t scorn those fenders, they keep rocks from flying up at you, as well as sprays of water.
Different Types of Touring Bicycles – Recumbent Bike
If you’re a fan of recumbent cycling, then you’ll probably want to read Recumbent Cycling News, to keep up on what’s going on in the recumbent world. Recumbent bikes certainly do look odd, but once people try one they seldom look back.
Recumbents are considered the most comfortable bikes on the road today. They can be faster than you might think, thanks to their aerodynamic design. Of course, because of their design, the recumbent rides differently then you’re used to. It steers differently, you have to handle starting and stopping differently, and climbing hills certainly requires a different method!
There are two different ways to steer a recumbent. There’s Above seat steering (ASS), which have the handlebars above the seat, usually at about chest height. When the handlebars are above the seat this gives the bike a more aerodynamic configuration because your arms are held in front of you.
Bikes with Under Seat Steering (USS) have the steering assembly under the seat of the rider. The handelbars extend out from under either side of the seat. Because your hands are held out at your sides this configuration is not as aerodynamic as the ASS. Of course, if you’re not interested in speed this is not really a consideration.
If you’re going touring with your recumbent, you might want to consider a trike – a bike with three wheels rather than two. This gives you more room for packing gear, and trikes can have up to 72 gears which really makes it easy to pedal!
Different Types of Touring Bicycles – Tandem Bike
Tandem bicycles are slowly growing in popularity. When riding a tandem the weight is doubled but the work is cut in half. However, the fact that there’s half the luggage space also has to be taken into account.
As with mountain biking, the tandem riders also have a language of their own. The bare minimum you need to know is that the rider in front is called the captain or the pilot and the rider in the rear is known as the stoker.
Tandems are excellent for those people with physical disabilities who still want to get out and ride. Riders who are seeing-impaired, for example, will be able to enjoy the great outdoors as the stoker while the sighted rider steers ahead. But that’s not the only reason to ride a tandem, of course. Many couples enjoy it, and with communication headsets it’s easy to talk to each other while you ride.
Don’t buy a tandem and then set out to tour immediately. Obviously you’ll want to try out several different tandems before you even buy one. Then you’ll want to practice for a few months before you take the plunge and go on your first touring ride. While a tandem may be the most uncommon of the different types of touring bicycles, don’t let that stop you from enjoying one.
After that…you’ll be hooked.
So get biking – and get touring.
In this article, we have covered the different types of touring bicycles. Do you have any other tips or recommendations for different types of touring bicycles? Share them in the comments below so that other readers can benefit from your wisdom!